class of 2010, b.a. boston college
When Melissa Hargleroad’s great-grandfather, a Chinese immigrant and a World War II Veteran, was denied permission to bring his wife and daughters to the United States after the Chinese Exclusion Acts, he was devastated. But the help and support of a dedicated lawyer allowed him to eventually succeed in petitioning for his family to join him in the states.
The story, passed down through generations of her family, made Hargleroad want to become a lawyer herself. “This selfless advocate believed in helping those people who were disadvantaged by the legal system,” she says. “It’s informed the way I think of the role of law.”
At BC Law, Hargleroad has found the faculty incredibly accessible and eager to help. “The faculty here are fantastic,” she says. “Going into law school I expected that students would be drilled so hard they’d be afraid to attend classes. But each faculty member has his or her own unique style of instruction, and varies it accordingly to the subject matter and the needs of their students. Professors are always available outside of class for extra help or even just to chat.”
Hargleroad had been a student leader during her undergrad years, and she worried that her experience wouldn’t carry through in her new environment. However, after she attended the Students of Color retreat, she realized she had found an incredibly supportive community that encouraged each student’s individual strengths.
“[The retreat] introduced me to the leaders on campus, as well as important faculty and administrators. It also helped to foster a sense of community, where we’re able to understand one another’s experiences and support one another through the first year.”
Hargleroad started the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) with the help of Assistant Dean Tracey West. She’s served as President of NALSA, 1L Representative for the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, and Co-Chair of the LSA Alumni and Institutional Development Committee. In addition, she led a service trip to the Navajo Nation reservation.
Hargleroad went to work for the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota after graduation. She will soon be taking a position as an associate with Choate Hall and Stuart.